Fall 2009 Vol. 2, No. 1
Topic of the Quarter: Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Nationally, teen birth rates for girls ages 15-19 increased by 5 percent between 2005 and 2007, rising in 26 states, after reaching an all-time low in 2005. Though the birth rate among Latina teens decreased 2 percent between 2006 and 2007, there were were 82 births per 1,000 Latina teens in 2007. Among African-Americans, there were 64 births per 1,000 teens, and among whites, 27 births per 1,000 teens. Even more young women become pregnant. Fifty-three percent of Latina teens are pregnant at least once before they reach age 20; 51 percent of African-American teens become pregnant. Nationally, three in 10 teens are pregnant at least once before age 20.
Teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, and they and their children are more likely to live in poverty, depend on public assistance, and be in poor health. Children of teen parents are more likely to score lower on cognitive tests than other children, come in contact with the child welfare and correctional systems, drop out of high school and become teen parents themselves.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, babies born to teens in 2004 will cost taxpayers $9.1 billion over time. This figure includes increased costs to public assistance, public sector health care, child welfare and state prisons and lower taxes paid by teen parents and their children over their lifetimes.
State lawmakers have developed policies to prevent teen pregnancy. Twenty states and the District of Columbia require public schools to teach sex education. Twelve states require sex education curricula to be medically accurate or science-based. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia explicitly allow minors to access contraceptive services without a parent's involvement. States have also funded community-based programs that address the issue comprehensively. Connecticut's Pathways/Senderos pregnancy prevention program provides academic support, career preparation, family and sexual education, and self-esteem coaching. All Pathways/Senderos program participants completed high school, 72 percent pursued secondary education, and 96 percent avoided pregnancy.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Making a Difference for At-Risk Populations
Teen Pregnancy Postcards; State Policies on Sex Education in Schools Website
LegisBrief State Policies on Sex Education in Schools
Upcoming Events and NCSL Resources
Fall Forum, December 9-12, 2009, San Diego. The NCSL Fall Forum brings together state lawmakers, legislative staff and national policy experts from across the country who converge to share ideas, best practices and strategies. Twelve NCSL Standing Committees will meet at Fall Forum to discuss state issues and the effect of federal actions.
NCSL can provide testimony to legislatures on preventing injuries and violence; reducing health disparities; the uninsured and access to health care; issues related to community health centers; chronic disease-related issues; health promotion; and other health policy topics. Contact Alise Garcia at 303-856-1405 or Healthfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources on Teen Pregnancy
National Vital Statistics System: Birth Data
National Center for Health Statistics, State Level Trends for Teen Childbearing, 2006
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Adolescent Reproductive Health
In the News
State Indicator Report on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
A report released by the CDC provides information to states about environmental stategies and policies to promote fruit and vegetable consumption in communities. The report encourages people to eat more fruits and vegetables by highlighting three key policy and environmental areas: healthier food retail, availability of healthier foods in schools, and food system support.
Recovery Act Funding Released for Prevention and Wellness Initiative
As part of the new $650 million public health initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC announced release of $120 million for states. The funds will be awarded to states and territories for three components: statewide policy and environmental change, tobacco cessation through quitlines and media campaigns, and special initiatives to create health-promoting policies and environments. All states have the opportunity to receive at least $300,000 in funds, but must apply for funds. Another $373 million was made available to fund the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. Through a competative grant process, 30 to 40 communities and tribes will be funded to reduce chronic disease risk factors and promote wellness through supportive community partnerships. States and communities can receive updates on stimulus funds by visiting the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors website.
NCSL Heart Disease and Stroke Profile and Policy Reports
NCSL works in partnership with the CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention to provide up-to-date information about heart disease and stroke statistics, treatment costs and state initiatives. View profile and policy reports for each state, with state-specific heart disease and stroke data and legislative policy options for heart disease and stroke prevention efforts.
The Impact of State Budgets on Public Health
For FY 2010, 17 states have reported general fund budget gaps of more than 20 percent; another 18 have reported gaps of between 10 percent and 20 percent; and five states have reported gaps of between 5 percent and 10 percent. The states' fiscal conditions are expected to continue to worsen during the course of the fiscal year. NCSL has compiled a series of tables that document measures that states are proposing or taking to close health budget gaps, including both cutting costs and generating new revenues. To follow other state trends visit the NCSL Budget and Tax website.
Proven Programs to Reduce Disease and Improve Community Health
A new report from the Trust for America's Health outlines community-based programs that have been successful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes.
NCSL H1N1 (Swine) Flu State and Federal Response
Keep current with information on developments, tools and federal guidance in dealing with the outbreak of the H1N1 (Swine) Influenza. Also view 2009 State Pandemic and H1N1 Flu Legislation.
Public Health Project Partner News
NCSL collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other national organizations—including the National Governors Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the Society for Public Health Education—on this public health project. Recent resources available from partner organizations on public health topics include:
September was "National Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month." The CDC offers 30 Ways in 30 Days to budget for fruit and vegetables to help people stay healthy!
On September 10, SOPHE hosted the webcast "Communicating Needs to State Legislatures in the Current Economic Climate." This webinar helped health professionals identify resources to communicate with policymakers about the importance of chronic disease prevention and treatment efforts as cost-effective investments even during tough budget times.
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